Friday, July 19, 2013

You’re Going To Do What!?

By: Master Firefighter Tim Burns

One of the new and helpful treatments brought to patients in Montgomery County is the EZ-IO intraosseous infusion system. This tool allows paramedics to place a needle directly into the marrow cavity of certain long bones of the legs or arms of critically ill or injured patients. This skill takes very little time to accomplish (often times significantly less time than traditional intravenous catheter placement) and speeds the delivery of necessary fluids and/or medications to the sickest patients we see.

As you can see from the photo, the EZ-IO device looks a lot like a drill, and it operates much the same. The needle sticks on the end of the gun and is “drilled” into the bone.

While the process may seem barbaric to a casual observer, actual patient testimony reveals that the pain associated with the placement of the needle is comparable to that of a normal IV placement. The infusion of fluid and medications through the device is what patients report to be most painful, and in Montgomery County we typically administer a numbing medication prior to the administration of anything through an EZ-IO.

The literature shows that successful placement of the EZ-IO can be accomplished with minimal training, with a high degree of reliability, and takes under 10 seconds.

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